Learning loss

Roughly everyone in the United States — with the possible exception of teachers-union leaders and their pet politicians — knew that learning losses from COVID-19-related school shutdowns were going to be big. But the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress still retained their power to shock.

From 2020 to 2022, average scale scores for American 9-year-olds dropped by five points in reading and seven points in math. That’s the largest decline in reading scores since 1990. It’s the first-ever decline in math scores. As might be expected, learning losses were largest among students who were already low-performing and among disadvantaged students with less access to parental support and resources while trying to learn at home.

John Hood is a John Locke Foundation board member.

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